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October 24, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Senior Consultant
Westminster Consulting, LLC
in CT, NJ, NY, PA

Senior Employee Health & Benefits Consultant
Mercer
in MI

Senior Account Manager, Retirement Plan Administration
Ohio National Financial Services
in OH

In - House Attorney
I.A.M. Benefit Trust Fund
in DC

401k Internal Sales Consultant
ASPire Financial Services LLC
in FL

Regional Sales Manager
ASPire Financial Services LLC
in IL, MA, NH, NY

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Webcasts and Conferences

Defined Contribution Plan Overview
October 29, 2013 WEBCAST
(NH Hicks)

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs): Now Even Greater Tax Savings When Selling Businesses
October 30, 2013 WEBCAST
(Bloomberg BNA)

401(k) Essentials Plus Series
November 12, 2013 WEBCAST
(McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)

ASPPA Annual Conference Recap
November 12, 2013 in MN
(ASPPA Benefits Council of Greater Twin Cities)

ERISA Workshop 2013 - Cleveland
November 20, 2013 in OH
(SunGard Relius)

ERISA Workshop 2013 - Detroit
November 21, 2013 in MI
(SunGard Relius)

View All Webcasts and Conferences


  LinkedIn   Twitter   Facebook Hand-picked links to the web's best news articles,
official guidance, jobs, webcasts and more.
[Guidance Overview]

Rules for ACA-Mandated Preventive Services and HSA-Eligible HDHPs
"In Notice 2013-57, the [IRS] confirms that high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) must cover all preventive services mandated under health care reform without imposing a deductible, and grandfathered HDHPs may optionally do the same.... Sponsors of HDHPs need to ensure that their plans cover all preventive services mandated under the PPACA without deductibles for participants. Sponsors of grandfathered HDHPs are free to include such benefits without cost sharing and will not lose HSA-qualifying status for doing so." (Towers Watson)  


[Advert.]

10th Annual American Health Care Congress - Dec. 2-3 - Anaheim, CA

Sponsored by World Congress

Senior health care executives from hospitals, health systems, health plans, and medical groups gather to address meaningful change in our system - policy, business strategy, and care delivery transformation.



[Guidance Overview]

Transitions in Coverage: Avoiding Gaps and Penalties: Beyond the Basics (PDF)
45 presentation slides. Excerpt: "To understand how to avoid gaps and penalties, [this presentation] will dig deep into the rules on: [1] Enrollment Periods -- Open enrollment, Special enrollment; [2] Grace Periods; [3] Exemptions and Penalties." (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)  

Slowing the Growth in Health Care Costs
"Key Recommendations: ... [1] Instead of paying for each service performed, Medicare should adopt a capitated system that pays for each patient treated, with incentives to ensure quality care.... [2] Instead of negotiating individual waivers from Medicaid rules with states, transition Medicaid to a person-centered approach that will promote state Medicaid reforms. [3] Limit the exclusion of employer-provided health insurance benefits from taxable income by imposing a cap that would grow at the same per-capita rate as federal subsidies in Medicare and/or the insurance marketplaces." (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)  

State Substance Abuse Parity Laws Hint at Coming Increases Under ACA
"A state implementation of any law mandating private coverage of substance abuse disorder was linked with a 9 percent increased treatment rate in all facilities and 15 percent in those accepting private insurance.... [R]esearchers are wondering whether the nation's existing treatment centers, mostly specialty facilities, will be able to accommodate the new demand." (Healthcare Payer News)  

Executive Guide to Private and Public Health Insurance Exchanges
"For active workers, private exchanges can potentially offer greater administrative ease, more choice, operational efficiencies and greater value. When making the decision about health benefit exchanges, it is imperative that employers ask the right questions and consider plan value by each segment of their covered population, rather than assuming that their traditional group plans offer equal value for all." (Towers Watson)  


[Advert.]

How Will Health Care Reform Impact You in 2014? - November 13 Webinar

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

Health care plans are changing - coordinate now for 2014. Registration discount for BenefitsLink readers.



Americans Will Have an Extra Six Weeks to Buy Health Coverage Before Facing Penalty
"The Obama administration said Wednesday night that it will give Americans who buy health insurance through new online marketplaces an extra six weeks to obtain coverage before they risk a penalty. The revised rule means that those who buy coverage through the exchange will have until March 31 to sign up for a plan, according to an official with [HHS]. Administration officials said the change is unrelated to the many problems that the marketplace's Web site, HealthCare.gov, has had in its first three weeks. Instead, they said, the shift relates to what they called a 'disconnect' among dates in new rules for buying coverage." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

Will The Individual Mandate Be Extended? Employers Should Still Not Wait
"Eligibility for coverage in 2015 will be based on hours worked during the 2014 measurement period. So someone working 30+ in 2014 is going to be someone who gets coverage in 2015. If you want to avoid offering the coverage, you have to manage their hours worked in 2014." (Fox Rothschild LLP)  

Oct. 24 Live Webcast: House Committee Hearing on ACA Implementation Failures -- Didn't Know or Didn't Disclose?
"This hearing [on Thursday, October 24, at 9 a.m.] will focus on the failures and issues surrounding the implementation of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's (PPACA) health insurance exchanges." [Page includes recorded video of hearing, background memo, list of witnesses and links to their testimony.] (House Committee on Energy and Commerce)  

Contractor Says Warned U.S. Officials About Healthcare Website Risks
"Andrew Slavitt, executive vice president with the parent of Quality Software Services Inc, said his company told the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of concerns about testing the Healthcare.gov website. 'We expressed all of those concerns and risks,' Slavitt said in testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, without immediately elaborating on what those concerns were.... Another contractor, website developer CGI Federal, said the website will be fixed in time to allow people to enroll in private health insurance by a December 15 deadline to obtain benefits beginning on January 1." (Reuters)  

Health Insurance Executives Meet with Senior Administration Officials to Bring In Private Information Technology Expertise
"[The Administration is] collaborating closely with the insurers to address problems we have witnessed in what are called '834' forms and in direct enrollment. To that end, we have worked with the insurers and the 'alpha teams' we jointly established made up of insurers' technology experts and CMS technology experts, to iron out kinks in the both the 834 forms and in direct enrollment. These 'alpha teams' are working side-by-side to correct challenges as soon as we see them. The teams have been meeting virtually with CMS and CGI and with tech teams associated with operations leaders on the industry. Drawing on the industry techs' experience in this way is a part of the 'tech surge' that is incrementally improving performance at HealthCare.Gov." (The White House)  

Feds Ask Blue Cross Blue Shield Not to Release Exchange Numbers
"The Obama administration asked North Dakota's largest health insurer not to publicize how many people have signed up for health insurance through a new online exchange, a company official says.... Still, a spokeswoman from Blue Cross Blue Shield says about 14 North Dakotans have signed up for coverage since the federal exchange went live Oct. 1. That brings total statewide enrollment to 20 -- less than one a day." (Inforum)  

Are Federal Call Centers Up to the Task of Enrolling Millions in Health Plans?
"[C]onsumer advocates say the centers were never meant to be an alternative to the insurance exchange website. They were conceived of as a supplement -- a way to offer some consumers more help to understand their options.... [S]ome states have dozens of plans to choose from, a process that could take hours to sort through on the telephone." (Kaiser Health News)  

Navigators Tread Water as Website Problems Continue
"'It's slowed us down,' says Patsy Dowling, executive director of Mountain Projects Inc., a 130-employee nonprofit in Western North Carolina ... 'We're focusing on a lot of education and outreach right now' ... They've also been having people who come in to enroll fill out paper applications, which Mountain Projects then mails to the federal government to determine the person's eligibility for a subsidy to help purchase coverage. But the paper applications, she says, are 'pretty cumbersome and long. It takes much longer [than an online application], but that's the only option'[.]" (Kaiser Health News)  

29 States Want the Supreme Court to Weigh in on Another Obamacare Mandate
"Eleven attorneys general, along with the White House, want the court to review a lower-court opinion that found that the contraception mandate violates a business's freedom of religion. Eighteen other state attorneys general want the court to review another opinion, which found the opposite. Dozens of lawsuits on that mandate have been filed by nonprofits and corporations nationwide." (Ezra Klein in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

California, 10 Other States, Urge Supreme Court to Review ACA For-Profit Corporate Religious Exemption Ruling
"The California AG's brief urges the High Court to grant the federal government's petition for certiorari in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and to overturn a Tenth Circuit ruling that would permit two for-profit corporations to avoid full compliance with the law. Ten states have joined in AG Harris' brief, including Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. What's at stake for California and these other states?" (Wolters Kluwer Law and Business)  

[Opinion]

Payment Reform: Flat Facility Fees & ACOs Aren't Enough
"The explosive growth of hospital costs is one of the key culprits in the nation's high health care spending. Nonetheless, attempts to reform hospital payment methodologies are usually greeted with fierce criticism from the industry. The latest clash, which stems from a CMS proposal to consolidate facility fees, offers an opportunity to review why hospitals are so expensive, to detail some of the larger issues with hospital billing practices and how they contribute to increasing health care costs, and to explore some ideas for reform." (Health Affairs Blog)  

[Opinion]

'Healthcare.gov Is In De Facto Shutdown'
"This process is decades old. Every union and every self-insured employer who contracts with an insurance company uses it. It's like a 74 Ford pick-up truck. There's nothing complicated about it. People in the industry are shaking their heads over the errors they're getting. They've been using this process for many years. No one has ever seen these kinds of errors before. No one has any idea where they're coming from." (Ezra Klein in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Official Guidance]

Text of Proposed ASU: Accounting for Share-Based Payments When the Terms of an Award Provide That a Performance Target Could Be Achieved after the Requisite Service Period
"The proposed amendments require that a performance target that could be achieved after the requisite service period be treated as a performance condition that affects the vesting of the award.... [C]ompensation cost would be recognized if it is probable that the performance condition would be achieved. The total amount of compensation cost recognized during and after the requisite service period would reflect the number of awards that are expected to vest and would be adjusted to reflect those awards that ultimately vest." (Financial Accounting Standards Board [FASB])  

How Well Do You Know Your Compensation Performance Range? (PDF)
"Like a dart board, the performance range that surrounds the goal in an incentive plan has a distinct purpose -- to drive the appropriate focus for optimal results for both shareholders and executives. Today, with increased attention on executive pay, shareholders want to know more about the performance required in those pay packages. Specifically beyond target: Is threshold performance sufficiently rigorous? What performance is required to earn the 'maximum' award?" (Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC)  

In Pay Wars, Directors Draw Less Scrutiny
"[I]ncreased attention to companies' say on pay proposals begs a key question: has there been an impact on director compensation? ... [B]ecause directors' pay is typically much smaller than that of senior management, it generally invites less scrutiny by shareholders ... There is also limited variability built into most director compensation programs." (Corporate Secretary)  

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